Vietnamese vegetable summer rolls

Tonight was a journey into the unknown as we prepared a Vietnamese inspired summer roll for dinner.  The dish is  a blend of South East Asian flavours (primarily Chinese) wrapped in a rice paper roll.  We came across the rice paper on one of our shopping trips to Wing Yip (a large Oriental supermarket in Croydon) and finally got to use it tonight.  We are hooked and will experiment a bit more with different fillings – we think once you have tried Vietnamese style rolls you will reconsider traditional fried spring rolls.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 6-8 closed cup mushrooms
  • 50 gms sweet corn
  • 1 small courgette
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1″ piece of ginger minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chilli
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Shaosin wine
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp spiced black rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Small handful of chopped coriander
  • Salt to taste

For the garnish

  • Small handful of basil finely chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 4-5 leaves of lettuce shredded
  • 8 Vietnamese rice papers
  • Thai sweet chilli sauce to taste
  • Chinese red chilli sauce to taste

How much will I make?

8 summer rolls

How do I make it?

Chop all the ingredients into even sized pieces.  Heat oil in a pan and add the ginger, garlic and crushed red chillies.  Stir fry for 30 seconds before adding the peppers, onions and celery.  Cook for 5 minutes before adding the remaining vegetables.  Cook till done and then add the soy sauce, rice vinegars, rice wine and toasted sesame oil.   Adjust the seasoning and then add the chopped coriander.   Switch off the heat and keep mixture aside.

Soak the rice paper in warm water for a couple of seconds and once soft layer with lettuce, a pinch of the basil, spring onion and a tablespoon and a half of the cooked mixture.  Drizzle a little Thai sweet chilli sauce and Chinese red chilli sauce – wrap – enjoy.

Nikhita’s 19th birthday dinner

Cannot believe my little niece has just turned 19 – I can still remember holding her as a baby when I first got to Bahrain back in 1994.  Anna and I selfishly offered to host a dinner for her birthday and invite a couple of her closest friends so as to ensure she was with us on her birthday.  Nikhita fancied a Chinese meal and our challenge  to create a cohesive menu began.   We finally decided that it was going to be an all vegetarian affair as the majority and more importantly the birthday girl are vegetarians.  Anna also made a wicked mocktail which looked pretty as a peach and tasted even better.  I know chocolate cake is not exactly classified as a Chinese dessert but what’s a birthday party without cake!




  • Vegetable spring rolls (store bought from Wing Yip)
  • Singapore Fling Mocktail

Main Course

  • Spicy tofu with vegetables (recipe from The Ultimate Chinese Cookbook by Linda Doeser)
  • Mushroom manchurian (recipe from
  • Stir fried Chinese greens
  • Stir fried noodles
  • Spicy egg fried rice


Here are a couple recipes if you are interested in trying them out.

Singapore Fling Mocktail!

What do I need to make it?

  • 1/2 tall glass of cranberry Juice
  • 1/2 tall glass ginger beer (root beer if you are American)
  • 1 tsp Rose syrup (Roohafza)
  • Crushed ice
  • Strawberry cut into little pieces
  • Sprig of mint leaf

How do I make it?

Place crushed ice on the bottom of the glass and pour rose syrup over it.  Pour the cranberry juice first followed by the ginger beer.  Garnish with chopped strawberries and mint leaf.

Spicy egg fried rice

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 cups cooked rice cooled (used Basmati which surprisingly works well)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 2 sprigs of green onions chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed red chillies flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4-6

How do I make it?

Heat the wok till its hot.  Add oil and garlic and stir rapidly (don’t want the garlic to burn and leave a bitter taste) for a minute.  Add the red chilli flakes and stir for 30 seconds before adding the beaten eggs.  Scramble the eggs and then add cooled cooked rice.  Add salt, pepper, soy sauce and sesame seed oil and mix well.  Add the spring onions and mix through.  Switch off and serve hot.